In recent years it’s become de rigeur for movies to force the audience to sit through a bum-numbingly long list of foley artists and best boys by hiding secret scenes both during and after the end credits, hinting at sequels and spin-offs to whatever they’re watching.
Superhero films in particular have become associated with the practice ever since 2008’s Iron Man surprised audiences with Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury after the action had seemingly ended (though such scenes had existed much earlier), and in the years following almost every superhero film has included mid and post-credits “stings” that show previews of films to come, the fate of tertiary characters or hints to overarching themes in the franchise.
So it seemed safe to assume that the latest superhero film on the block, Wolverine spin-off/sequel Logan, would continue to follow in that tradition, especially given the slightly uncertain nature of the X-Men film franchise. Some fans may soon be keeping their seats in anticipation, idly scrolling through their phones as various talented VFX artists’ names slide up the screen and they eagerly wait for that sweet sweet hit of nerdy preview.
But unfortunately, they’ll be disappointed – because Logan has no post-credits sting at all.
This sad fact was revealed by director James Mangold a few days ago, after reports had flip-flopped on the issue (there were even rumours that there’d be some sort of scene before the film started, which makes even less sense) and reviewers were unsure whether such a scene had just been removed from their screenings (as sometimes happens).
However, thanks to Mangold’s confirmation and reports from cinemagoers in the UK (where the film opened today) it does seem like Logan is singularly without stings, ending solely where the main story ends and with nothing to reward eagle-eyed credits-watchers except a sense of the large number of underappreciated behind-the-scenes workers in the film industry. So what gives? Why has Logan eschewed the post-credits tradition?
Well, there’s a few possible reasons. Without giving too much away, the ending to Logan is a rather emotional one that gives a sense of finality to Hugh Jackman’s version of the character (which he began playing for 2000’s X-Men). The film itself is also a fairly standalone tale without too much connection to the other films, so it could be that both its tone and placement in the franchise meant that a post-credits scene felt unsuitable to the filmmakers.
More generally, it’s also worth remembering that the post-credits scene is more closely associated with Marvel Studios’ films than the X-Men series (which despite being a creation of the same Marvel comics universe is owned by 20th Century Fox). While some X-Men films have dabbled in the sting tradition (including X-Men: Days of Future Past, Deadpool, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and James Mangold’s previous Wolverine film The Wolverine) others (like 2011’s X-Men: First Class and the original two X-Men films) have not.
Basically, non-Marvel superhero films like these and Warner Bros’ DC films tend to pick and choose whether they include post-credits stings (as opposed to Marvel who always has them), but this fact is often forgotten due to the cultural dominance of the Marvel films in recent years.
In other words, despite what many think superhero films don’t always make you stick around until after the credits (2013’s Man of Steel has no post-credits scene, for example), so in a sense it’s not such a surprise to find Logan has ducked out of the idea.
With that said, it could be argued that it was the X-Men films that actually invented the superhero sting tradition, not Iron Man, due to the revelation at the end of 2004’s X-Men: The Last Stand that Patrick Stewart’s Professor X was still alive (see above), so it’s not ridiculous for fans to have expected to see something after the credits either.
But whatever the history, fans will have to make do with the latest superhero film on the block actually ending when it seems to end, and waiting for the next full X-Men film before they get to see more of the merry mutants in action. It’s like we’re living in the early noughties or something.